A guest post written by Valerie Elliott (originally posted November 2010)
With the Thanksgiving season upon us, it is easy for me to give thanks! But it hasn’t always been that way for me. I was an agnostic for many years of my adulthood, and pretty much felt if there was a higher power, He wasn’t particularly interested in me. I felt I was out in the world on my own. It seemed everyone I worked or socialized with felt that same way, although discussing a higher being was not a conversation we had when out celebrating!
I gave a tale of woe to a business associate of mine when I was going through a very difficult time. She shared some inspirational thoughts that introduced me to a God that was very different from the God I was brought up to know. Some time later I found out she was a Christian Scientist.
I no longer see the glass as either half empty or half full, or see a world over which we have no control. For me, it came about by learning to pray differently. Although this Thursday is a day of Thanksgiving in our country, it reminds me that I can pray daily for my family, my friends, my country, and my world with the idea that I can look at things that go wrong as an opportunity to help set them right – through prayer. I have found that I am so much more at peace if I start out with being grateful for what I have.
I am grateful to know some of the potpourri of people that make up this country. When I saw a Wiccan friend of mine pray, she prayed with her arms open, palms up. She said that with her hands open, she is better able to receive the blessing. A Muslim friend of mine kneels and prays in humility to God (Allah in Arabic) five times a day to connect with God. I am grateful to know more about my fellow man and to learn from each other. I now try to show more compassion for all. Out of this change in thought, I feel blessed. Are there days that it seems like everything is against me? Yes. But I step back and look at the blessings I and my family and friends – and the world – have received, and I can’t help but feel thankful. Then I try to see God who wants good for all His children – for everyone! I don’t feel my cup is half empty or half full – I feel my cup runneth over!
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, wrote in Miscellaneous Writings: “How many homes echo such tones of heartfelt joy on Thanksgiving Day! But, alas! for the desolate home; for the tear-filled eyes looking longingly at the portal through which the loved one comes not, or gazing silently on the vacant seat at fireside and board — God comfort them all!”
May you feel the love and protection and gratitude that those first Pilgrims celebrated, and may you enjoy the blessings that life has to offer.